Education

Big jolt for Osmania University as science congress gets postponed

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on December 21, 2017

Osmania University had hosted the congress on three earlier occasions

Tense situation on the campus cited as main reason



In a major jolt to host Osmania University, the 105th Indian Science Congress session, slated to be opened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 3, stands postponed. It is a shocker for the university, which is celebrating its centenary.

It also comes a setback for the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), the main organiser, as a postponement is an exceptionally rare thing to happen.

Traditionally, the congress is the first major event in the calendar of the Prime Minister, with expectations of policy announcements and directions for scientific research. The dates have been January 3-7 all along. The last time such a postponement happened was in 2014, when the 101st session in Jammu got freezed out.

Achyuta K Samanta, General President of the 105th India Science Congress in Hyderabad, who is also the head of the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Odisha, said: “The Vice-Chancellor of the host Osmania University had expressed in writing his inability to assure holding the event in view of the prevailing, continuous disturbances on the campus.”

There was confusion about finalising the venue to inaugurate the congress, and with just two weeks left to hold the mammoth meeting, a decision to postpone has been taken, Samanta told BusinessLine.

Future course

The ISCA Executive Committee will now meet on December 27 in Kolkata to take stock of the developments and decide on the future course, he said.

The Osmania University, one of the oldest institutions in the country and which has hosted the congress on three earlier occasions, has been in the thick of action in recent weeks with a suicide, protests over jobs, reservations and the rights of adivasis and lambdas.

However, the university’s organising committee maintained that they were firming up plans to finalise the inaugural venue when the unexpected decision came in.

A detailed review meeting was also held on Wednesday. The ISCA teams have also been working closely over the past two months, with Samanta in attendance on a couple of occasions, to firm up plans.

The indications of postponement started to come in on Wednesday evening in Delhi, with the Department of Science and Technology, the main funding body for the congress, withdrawing from participation by asking officials to cancel tickets.

Further, the Telangana State security officials, who were monitoring the campus developments, also did not paint an optimistic picture.

Theme

The theme of the congress is ‘Reaching the unreached through science and technology’. Nine Nobel laureates, including Ada Yonath (Israel), Hiroshi Amano (Japan), Erwin Neher (Germany), Rolf Zinkernagel (Switzerland), John Walker (UK), Richard Robert (US), Jean Marie Lehn (France), Hartmut Michel (Germany), and Gerd Binnig (Germany), were expected to participate in the deliberations.

Published on December 21, 2017
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